Sowing - Market Garden

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by jannie, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. jannie

    jannie New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm keen to find out how permies sow on scale.
    Dealing with garden beds of a couple square meters are easy but I've recently been trying to get a larger area sown, i.e. 50-100sqm.

    It sounds silly but surprisingly it's not.

    Let's say I'm sowing broccoli, just because I happen to have tons of seed.
    I till the soil, the soil is really good and I have some beds (covered with netting currently supporting direct sowing.)

    1 - Till,
    2 - Plant seeds.

    ?!

    I've tried a few variations from here on, i.e. raking to try and cover the seeds better etc.


    The problem is , nothing grows.

    There are some things I suspect, birds, etc. I can't see netting 100sqm as being very permaculture.Soil temperature is good (plants germinate in the covered beds). Moisture ? there is ample rainfall around the sowing days.

    I understand it's good to work from a stable "base" and then go from there but there seems to be a definite threshold where the set of challenges changes.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I have had more success sowing the seeds in trays and transplanting when they are big enough, not that I have ever tried to work on the scale you are talking about.
    If your seeds are sprouting then they are not too old, which can be a problem.
    If your plants are growing in the covered beds alright, then you might be looking at night temperatures being too cold. heres an odd example, I have just had to bring my two aloe vera plants inside because they were looking brown rather than green- its summer here right now and the day temps are great. Now that they are inside, they have greened up again. It has been quite cold here at night, which is unusual.
     
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  3. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Like mischief I have done sprouted transplants but I also do direct seeding.
    I don't till first though, I poke a hole with a dibble (ie: sharpened stick) and plant two seeds per hole, step or press to cover the seed.
    I go by seed size for depth of planting seeds; small seeds (ie: beet, carrot, mustard, etc.) 1/4 inch (.5 cm) , Large seeds (corn, squash, beans, etc.) 1 inch (2-2.5 cm)
    once a garden area is planted we water the garden (drippers for 1 hour) this
    By not tilling, the birds do not know that I have planted any seeds for them to hunt for and eat.
    I usually do a close clipping of my ground cover around two days after planting so the seeds can sprout into clear sunlight.
    we are planting 1 acre this year for gardens
     
  4. jannie

    jannie New Member

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    Thanks.
    I wonder if the tilling thing started because of soil depletion, I suppose in good soil there is no point to till.
    Will definitely try this.

    I can't imagine hand planting 1000's of broccoli
     
  5. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Actually, tilling soil was started at least 7,000 years ago by humans and since most are creatures of habit, it has continued to be thought of as a necessary thing to do so plants we want will grow. Tilling and over grazing is how depleted land has always been created, it is a human misconception that still is being thought of as the only way to grow foods.

    The reality is that the poorer the soil the more necessary it is to not till, tilling is disruption, disruption has both good and bad sides but unless you have the biome additives needed to bring back the bacteria and fungi necessary for plants to thrive, then all you are doing is bringing up minerals that your plant roots will not be able to take in and process. There is a grand symbiosis in soil that is not present in "dirt" simply because dirt contains no bacteria (or the wrong bacteria strains) and the hyphae of fungi have been destroyed from tilling. Roots need bacteria to make minerals and nutrients available for them to pull in, fungi are what help roots pull in moisture, nutrients and those bacteria freed minerals.

    Tilling is appropriate when a soil tests has shown mineral depletion, that can't be addressed by use of deep rooting, mineral mining plants as a cover crop. If all is well on a soil test, no tilling is required, soil loosening can be accomplished with plants like daikon radish, rape, and other large, deep rooting plantings that are then topped and left to rot in situ along with other deep rooting plants such as alfalfa, clovers, etc.

    For large plots of land being planted, nothing beats a wheel seed drill for both speed and accurate spacing and seed depth.
     
  6. jannie

    jannie New Member

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    I think I need to add more cover crops to be honest.
     
  7. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    Problems with direct seeding are many weeds get in from of the tiny seedlings , seed can get carted off by any one of your local natural seed stealers , seed can get dry and fail it can burst if too wet ect ect .

    Have a look at Linda Woodrows book "Permaculture home garden" cheap little book that will help you heaps

    She has a great system of raising advanced seedlings with little or no transplant shock

    You may or may not be interested in her mandala garden style but her book is full of helpful info .
     
  8. Brian D Smith

    Brian D Smith New Member

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    Janine,
    Broccoli seed might need to be buried to protect it as it germinates.
    Have you tried a seed drill? There are commercial ones as well as homemade ones.

    One simple way is to plant small seeds is to use a gel carrier.
    It is a quick and dirty way to plant a lot of seeds fast.
    It works well with carrots, chard, radishes and spinach. I've never used it with broccoli.

    Make a gel with corn starch or gelatin and mix the seeds in to it.
    It will take a bit of testing to get the right density of seeds to result in the average spacing you desire.
    Using a squeeze bottle, pour a thin line of the gel and seeds into a shallow trench and cover it.
     
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  9. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    Some seeds like to be direct sown some like to be raised in trays first.
    I put corn, cucumbers, zucchini,beans,beetroot and carrots in the ground most others I start in a seed box full of trays
    Moisture levels and soil depth are crucial for some seeds and not so much for others.
    Tomatoes grow like weeds and transplant well here.
    I have little luck with most herbs though basil grows like a weed and I never need to replant that, it self sows,Im also waiting for parsley to do the same.
     
  10. BajaJohn

    BajaJohn New Member

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    I've encountered the same problem on a smaller scale. I thought the seeds weren't coming up until I saw a row one morning that was gone the next. Closer inspection revealed a row of tiny leafless stubs. Not sure what the culprit is but brassica leaves seem to be a favorite food for something.
    Doesn't broccoli also prefer a firm soil? Tilling may not be a good idea unless you roll it afterwards. Seeds on the surface will also be easy pickings for hungry birds and mice. They should be slightly buried - which makes a seed drill a good idea. Garden models are available for less than $150.
     
  11. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Favourite food of.......SLugs and Snails, then the whitebutterfly caterpilla.
    Then me, I love broccolli.
     

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